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WHAT IS H. PYLORI?
Learn more about the Helicobacter pylori ( H. pylori) bacterial infection in this comprehensive guide from our gastroenterology team New York Gastroenterology & Endoscopy. For noninvasive testing procedures, treatments, and prevention resources, contact our Queens, NY team at (718) 734-0404 today!
Helicobacter pylori (more commonly known as H. pylori) is a medical condition isolated to the upper gastrointestinal tract. H. pylori is the most common chronic stomach bacterial infection in humans. The bacteria are found in the stomach and can sometimes cause pain in the upper abdomen, bloating and nausea in some patients. H. pylori grows in individuals’ digestive tracts, and while they are usually harmless, they can occasionally attack one’s stomach lining or small intestine. This can often lead to various types of ulcers in said areas. While the causes of H. pylori infections are currently debated, there are various proven treatment options, as well as ways to avoid this type of bacterial infection. At New York Gastroenterology & Endoscopy, we offer a variety of noninvasive testing procedures and treatment options to address this condition.
Symptoms And Risks
H. pylori can lead to the formation of ulcers in the stomach or the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) or even to stomach cancer in certain individuals. It is not known why some individuals have no symptoms while others can present with problems due to this chronic infection. In general, individuals should be tested for H. pylori if they have or have had ulcers in the stomach or duodenum.
H.PYLORI SYMPTOMS CAN INCLUDE:
Upper abdominal pain
Patients who present these symptoms may need further testing in addition to a full workup for the presence of H. pylori. Patients with a family history of stomach cancer are encouraged to be tested for H. pylori as well. After exposure, H. pylori can then infect the lining of the stomach and release enzymes and toxins that can inflammation and injure the cells lining the stomach or duodenum. In the US, infection is uncommon during childhood and becomes more common as an adult whereas, in developing countries, most children are affected at a young age.
How Is H. Pylori Spread?
Though the medical community has still not reached consensus on how H. Pylori is spread, it is commonly thought that the bacteria is transferred by the consumption food or water contaminated with fecal matter. However, mouth-to-mouth bacterial transfer has also been postulated as a common means of spreading H. pylori. Contaminated water supplies in developing countries likely account for some of the higher prevalence of this infection in those countries.Since it is often caused by lack of proper hygiene, H. pylori commonly presents itself in children. However, adults are not immune to H. pylori infections and should always take precautions when eating certain types of foods, as well as partake in proper sanitary habits.
How Can I Be Tested For H. Pylori?
There several tests to diagnose H. pylori, many of which are noninvasive and can be performed by our medical team here at New York Gastroenterology & Endoscopy.
NONINVASIVE TESTS INCLUDE:
Urea breath test
Invasive testing such as endoscopy may be needed and biopsies can be taken to evaluate for the presence of H. pylori.
How Is H. Pylori Treated?
After one is diagnosed with H. pylori, treatment usually includes a combination of two antibiotics in addition to medication that reduces acidity in the stomach for a period of 10 – 14 days. Utilizing multiple antibiotics reduces the risk of treatment failure and antibiotic resistance. There are several different regimens that are approved and effective. For proper treatment, it is important that patients make sure to take the entire regimen.At New York Gastroenterology & Endoscopy, our doctors always recommended treating H. pylori, since failure to do so can lead to exacerbated symptoms and may increase and individuals since for stomach and colon cancers. Treatment for H. pylori is generally effective, but there are some individuals who are not cured from therapy. To determine whether additional treatment is needed, our medical team can perform a breath test or stool test once initial treatment is complete.
If you believe you have an H. pylori infection, or would simply like to learn more about H. pylori in general, please contact our office at (718) 734-0404!
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Doctor Igal Khorshidi - MD, MS
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